PhD position health economics of innovative dementia care



Working Enviroment

Job description

Dementia is a neurocognitive disorder characterized by gradual decline of cognitive function. It has a major impact on quality of life. In the Netherlands, 290,000 people are living with dementia, which without the costs of informal caregiving represents 9.5% of the healthcare budget. Due to aging, dementia prevalence is projected to more than double by 2050 while the number of both formal care professionals as well informal caregivers is decreasing. The ensuing challenge to meet the care needs while maintaining quality of life for individuals with dementia and their (family) carers clearly is enormous.
To overcome these challenges technological innovations are being developed. However, such solutions may not be well-aligned with individual needs, nor are these widely available and accessible. The Quality of Life by use of Enabling AI in Dementia (QoLEAD) consortium aims to develop and assess the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide adequate, compassionate and smart care solutions focusing on: 1) health, safety and quality of care; 2) social participation and contacts; 3) autonomy, giving meaning and purpose, and self-respect. Individuals with dementia and informal caregivers in collaboration with professional mental health institutes, knowledge institutes and entrepreneurs will co-create and evaluate innovative tools to ultimately sustainably maintain quality of life.
QoLEAD constitutes a leading interdisciplinary partnership in AI, dementia research from a medical, psychological, social and economic perspective. Also, stakeholder involvement including dementia care professionals is assured to obtain a person-centred design, while ultimately, implementation science will help bring innovations to the market. QoLEAD consists of 6 sub-projects: 1) co-design; 2) AI to improve health, safety and precision care; 3) AI to enable participation in daily social activities and social contact; 4) AI to preserve autonomy, meaningful activities and self-esteem; 5) health-economic impact of new AI interventions; and 6) coordination.

The overall cost-effectiveness of a new technology is important to estimate and will inform policymakers on important aspects regarding reimbursement decisions.
The candidate will perform a health economic evaluation of (the potential of) AI technology deployed in the field of dementia care. The technology as such will be developed within other QoLEAD workpackages. Thus the pertaining project will provide relevant insights on the societal impact and sustainability of AI supported dementia care within the larger QoLEAD project. For this analysis, a model-based approach will be used by implementing the estimates of effectiveness of the AI interventions in an existing health economic model. The short-term effectiveness results will be extrapolated to obtain forecasts regarding the long-term (5-10 years) health-economic impact.
This implies setting up successful collaboration with a wide variety of professionals in the field of dementia care, AI and health economic evaluation- and will be one of the challenges.

- The candidate performs a model-based health economic evaluation based on the existing international IPECAD model ( This (disease treatment) model will have to be modified by adding patient relevant outcomes (social contact, autonomy, self-esteem, meaningfulness, empowerment, caregiver overburdening, unmet needs, safety, quality care) and Dutch quality of life and cost estimates.
- To this end, the candidate will extract data from the literature and the opinion of experts from the QoLEAD consortium.
- Also, the candidate will participate in analyses of existing datasets to estimate disease progression, quality of life and health care utilization.
- In addition, estimates of how AI affects the burden and impact of dementia as evaluated by fellow researchers in the QoLEAD project will be implemented in the model by the candidate.
- The findings of this research (modification/development of the simulation model and cost-effectiveness analysis) will be reported at national and international conferences, in peer reviewed scientific papers ultimately yielding an academic dissertation.


The suitable candidate has completed a MSc in health economics or health technology assessment. Demonstrable interest and experience with AI and preferably dementia would be qualifications much appreciated. Communication skills, statistics and proficient in reporting in English complete the portfolio.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. The UMCG can provide you with the vaccination, should it be required for your position.
In case of specific professions a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ is required.

Conditions of employment

A PhD position (32-36 hours a week). First appointment for one year. If candidate is proven suitable, the appointment will be extended for another 4 years.
Your salary will be a minimum of € 2.789,- gross per month in the first year and a maximum of € 3.536,- gross per month (scale PhD) in the final (5th) year, based on a full-time appointment. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centres (CAO-UMC). Minimum of 23 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.

The desired date of employment 01-05-2023.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy you may contact:

Erik Buskens telefoonnummer +31 50 361 0738
Dr. Ron Handels telefoonnummer +31 43 388 1036

Applying for a job

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed. You can apply until 18 April 2023. Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Digital application form